“Whom Do You Trust?” – Article by Frank Fear

Frank Fear

The following is excerpted from the article titled Whom Can You Trust? by Frank Fear. You can also read the entire article that was published in the LA Progressive.

It’s anybody’s guess when the public’s trust began eroding. There were instances, here and there, starting years ago. For many in my generation it began with the Nixon Years, especially “Watergate.” Today there’s a clear pattern of trust being debased…

Citizens need a way to consider public issues responsibly, collectively, and systematically. A time-tested strategy is available through The National Issues Forum Institute. It’s a structured and disciplined approach that begins with reliable background information about an issue—information that’s presented in nonpartisan form. Action options are then offered based on the background analysis. Citizens can use this information to engage in dialogue, then deliberation, to select an actionable solution that makes sense to them. The protocol can be used at multiple levels (organization, community, and beyond) and for a variety of purposes (e.g., for public policy and institutional goal-setting).

Citizens can’t do it all by themselves, though. The kind of progress we need requires changing how social institutions engage citizens, particularly in terms of how public sector and nonprofit professionals go about their work…

Watch and Share Your Comments – Shaping Our Future, Launching a National Conversation about the Public Purposes of Higher Education

Muriel Howard, President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, spoke during the “Shaping Our Future” launch at the National Press Club

We hope you will watch the video and share your comments, questions, and feedback.

You can now watch the video (approximately 2 hrs.) recorded during the September 4, 2012 launch of Shaping Our Future: How Can Higher Education Help Us Create the Future We Want? – A national conversation about the public purposes of higher education.   Through this initiative, students, faculty, administrators, employers, and members of the general public are invited to reflect on how colleges and universities might help the country tackle some of its most vexing problems. Shaping Our Future is organized by the American Commonwealth Partnership and the National Issues Forums.

The launch, which included a presentation and panel discussion, was held September 4, 2012, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, and featured the following speakers and panelists:

Martha Kanter, U.S. Undersecretary of Education
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Syracuse University
Muriel Howard, President, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
Bernie Ronan, Chair, The Democracy Commitment
Kaylesh Ramu, President, Student Government Association, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Scott Peters, Co-¬Director, Imagining America
Harry Boyte, National Coordinator, The American Commonwealth Partnership
Bill Muse, President, The National Issues Forums
David Mathews, President, The Kettering Foundation (via video)

The “Shaping Our Future” issue materials are available to download online (free through June 30, 2013).

The following is a preliminary listing of colleges and universities that have committed to holding “Shaping Our Future” forums:

Morehouse College
Clark Atlanta University
Spelman College
Tougaloo College
Atlanta Metropolitan State College
Ft. Valley State University
San Diego State Univ. and Univ. of California at San Diego
Florida A&M University
University of Washington
Alabama A&M University
Lawson State Community College
Tennessee State University
Morgan State University
The Citadel
Clemson University
University of South Carolina, Sumter
Central Carolina Technical College
Morris College
Coastal Carolina
Albany State University
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Ashland University
Augsburg College
Bemidji State University
Broome Community College
Carleton College
Century College
College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University
Concordia College-Moorhead
Concordia University-St. Paul
Franklin Pierce University
Georgia College and University
Gulf Coast State College
Gustavus Adolphus College
Hofstra University
Inver Hills Community College
Minnesota State University-Mankato
Normandale Community College
North Hennepin Community College
Providence College and City of Providence
Portland Community College
St. Cloud State University
University of Georgia
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota-Duluth
University of Minnesota-Rochester
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
University of Virginia
Virginia Tech University
Winona State University
Minnesota Campus Compact
Central Lakes College
Hamline University
University of Minnesaota-Morris
Northeastern Illinois University
Southwest Minnesota State University
SUNY Cortland
University of St. Thomas
Washington State University Vancouver

For more information about participating in this national conversation contact Bill Muse, by e-mail at bmuse@nifi.org, or by phone at 800-433-7834 or Harry Boyte, by e-mail at boyte001@umn.edu, or by phone at 612-330-1453.